Tea Set by Connie Cockrell
She nodded. Now that he mentioned it, she was a little tired. “When will I go to see my parents?”
“After you have full power. The king and queen want you to be able to defend yourself before you come back. They look forward to seeing you.”
Delia nodded. She wondered if they really did look forward to seeing her. There had been no contact at all since she’d been dropped at Corpet’s.
“They missed you terribly.”
The statement caught her by surprise. As though he could read her mind.
“Your aura gives you away.”
She blushed. “I hope one of the lessons is on how to control that.” What she didn’t want was for every passing elf to know what she was feeling.
“It is. I just meant that they are looking forward to meeting you and that they missed you. It was not an easy decision to hide you away. The threat from Iyuno was great enough against you to warrant it.”
“I’ll take you at your word.”
They arrived back at the conservatory. Pricilla was sitting at the table with a piece of embroidery, a tray of glasses and an ewer of water ready for them. She rose and bowed. “Princess, Lord Enaur. Water?”
“No thank you.” Enaur shook his head. “I’ll take my leave, Princess. Same time tomorrow, here?”
“Yes, Lord Enaur. Tomorrow.”
He bowed and left going into the conservatory and to the house. Delia wondered if he was going to report to Lord Traford.
Delia took her mind from Enaur and sat down. “Yes please.” She could see that Pricilla’s aura was a rosy pink. Sparkles danced all around her. Even the water had sparkles. Pricilla put the glass in front of her. Her hand trembled a bit as she reached for it. She wondered at the water’s sparkles, frothing up out of the glass and spilling down the sides, over her hand. Musing, she drank, wondering if she’d feel the sparkles. She didn’t and was a little disappointed.
“I hope I haven’t kept you waiting too long,” she said as she put the glass back down.
“No, Princess. I had a bit of embroidery to keep me occupied.
“May I see it?”
Pricilla took the piece in its hoop from the table and handed it to Delia.
“It’s a handkerchief.” Delia examined the stitching. It was a leaf and flower pattern, in yellows and greens, the stitches small and even. “It’s beautiful.”
“My grandmother taught me.” Pricilla took back the work and dropped it into an apron pocket.
“Would you teach me?”
The young woman’s eyes widened. “Certainly, Princess. I’ll gather the materials and find a suitable piece for you to begin learning on.”
Delia realized her trembling had stopped. “I look forward to it.” She looked around the conservatory. “Do you know all of the flower names in here?”
Pricilla shook her head. “No, Princess. Shall I arrange for the gardener to explain?”
“That would be wonderful. Yes, please. Later this afternoon, or tomorrow, perhaps, as his time is available.”
“I will arrange it, Princess.”
Delia rose. “Let’s tour the house, Pricilla. It’s foolish for me to have to be guided everywhere.”
Pricilla smiled. “Yes, Princess.”
They spent an hour and a half exploring all of the parts of the house, including the kitchens, that Pricilla had access to. They arrived back in Delia’s rooms in the early afternoon.
“Dinner is at seven, Princess. Would you like a lunch to tide you over?”
“Yes please. And tea.”
Pricilla nodded and left. Delia sat in the window seat and looked out over the wall of the estate. She was a little surprised at how extensive the grounds were here in the middle of Kismet. From her window she could see the desert beyond the town, a striking contrast to the lush gardens on the grounds.
She was lost in thought over her morning’s lesson when Pricilla returned with a tray. “I brought an assortment, Princess, until I learn your preferences.” She put the tray on the low table, then shut the room door. Delia went to one of the chairs near the table and sat down. “What did you bring me?”
Pricilla raised the cover. “A salad of greens with sliced apple, raisins and nuts, a plate of cheese and cold cuts, rolls, chutney, butter, mustard, and a bowl of mixed cut fruit.”
A knock sounded at the door. Pricilla answered it and brought in another tray. This one had hot tea service and carafes of water, iced tea, and a red and a white wine. “I know you asked for tea, Princess, but I thought you may like these to be here for the afternoon.”
“How thoughtful, Pricilla.”
She ate a little of everything. Delia seemed particularly hungry though in the caravan, she never had a mid-day meal. Perhaps it was the awakened magic. “Thank you, Pricilla.”
The young woman nodded and took the tray back to the kitchens. Delia was examining the books in the bookcase when Pricilla returned. “Princess. A young man has arrived from Master Corpet with your things.”
Delia brightened. “Is it allowed to have him bring them up?”
“Yes, Princess. I’ll bring him here.”
It didn’t take long. Pricilla opened the door after a knock and Sam came in behind her, carrying a trunk.
“Set it on the floor, Sam.” Delia hurried over and clapped him on the shoulders. Sam blushed bright red. Delia had never been so happy to see a familiar face. “How are you Sam?”
He ducked his head. “I’m fine Del… um, Princess.” He looked around the room. “The whole caravan is talking.” He blushed again.
“We’ve known each other for years, Sam. Don’t be shy. Come. Sit down and have a glass of water.”
He shuffled nervously to the nearest chair around the low table. Delia poured him a glass of water and handed it to him. “Please sit, Sam. Tell me what’s going on?”
Sam glanced at the upholstered chair, then his breeches. Pricilla moved to stand behind Delia’s chair. “Sit, Sam. Please.”
He nodded and sat, then sipped from the glass. “Uh, well news is out about you being a Princess. Master Corpet called out Emil and whipped him with his own crop then fired him for striking you against his orders. We leave tomorrow. Master is complaining that now he has no one to keep the books. He’s scouring the market for a trained slave.” His words tumbled from his lips in a torrent and in no particular order.
Delia found she was sad to hear that they were leaving. It was to be expected, Corpet had to be in Encre for the main slave sale. She was not sad to hear that Emil had received a come-uppance. “Isn’t the Master worried that Emil will cause trouble?”
Sam shrugged. “I don’t know. He doesn’t seem worried. He hired another horse master and head guard to take over for Emil.” He drank the water down, now that he was more relaxed. “Master Corpet has decided I should learn to read and write, now that you’re gone.” He beamed with pride at the announcement.
“I’m glad, Sam. You’ll do well, I’m sure.”
Sam rose. “I need to get back, Del… uh, Princess. Master will have a lot of packing for me to do.”
Delia rose as well and threaded her arm in Sam’s as she walked him to the door. “Take care, Sam, and be well. I won’t forget how good a friend you’ve been.”
He blushed again. “Thank you, Princess.” He ducked his head as Pricilla led him out of the room. “You’ve been a good friend, too.”
She waved as Pricilla shut the door. Alone, she wandered back to the window seat and stared out over the city. She’d miss Sam but not the caravan or the men that worked it. Delia worried a bit about Emil. He would be furious at the whipping and being fired. He may join a brigand band and cause trouble for Master Corpet. She also worried about the word now out on the street that she was an Elven princess. That word would spread quickly and probably back to her Uncle Iyuno. How would that affect her father’s war?
Thank You! Come back next week for Part 10.
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